Quick Picks for Preteens
Room One: a Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements
Ted Hammond, the only sixth grader in his small Nebraska town’s one-room schoolhouse, searches for clues to the disappearance of a homeless family.
Twice Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris
After a quiet, happy year in a small town, Queen Olympia regains her memory and initiates new plots and manipulations, as residents of Zandelphia and Beaurivage, now ruled by Christian, Marigold, and Swithbert, feel the effects of her bad energy.
Sequel to Once Upon a Marigold.
The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
Dewey Kerrigan, while living with her scientist father who is working on a top secret government program, has no idea how the Manhattan Project will change the world as she befriends an aspiring artist who is a misfit just like her.
Winner of the 2007 Scott O’Dell Award and a Rebecca Caudill Nominee.
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
When twelve-year-old Stephanie inherits her weird uncle’s estate, she must join forces with Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton mage, to save the world from the Faceless Ones.
Sequel: Playing With Fire
Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle
Year afterwards, Ruben Hart tells the story of how, in 1929 Newport, Rhode Island, his family and his best friend’s family were caught up in the violent competition among groups trying to control the local rum-smuggling trade.
Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen
Things get out of hand for a twelve-year-old boy when a neighbor convinces him to expand his summer lawn mowing business.
Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker’s classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.
The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sis
The author pairs his remarkable artistry with journal entries, historical context, and period photography to create a powerful account of his childhood in Cold War-era Prague.
A Caldecott Honor book.
Tiger by Jeff Stone
Five young warrior monk brothers survive an insurrection and must use the ancient arts to avenge their Grandmaster.
This is book one in the Five Ancestors series.
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.
Lunch Money by Andrew Clements
Twelve-year-old Greg, who has always been good at money making projects, is surprised to find himself teaming up with his lifelong rival, Maura, to create a series of comic books to sell at school.
Toad Rage by Morris Gleitzman
Determined to understand why humans hate cane toads and to improve relations between the species, Limpy embarks on a dangerous trek from his swamp to the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
The sequel: Toad Heaven
Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Thirteen-year-old Bethany's parents have always been overprotective, but when they suddenly drop out of sight with no explanation, leaving her with an aunt she never knew Bethany uncovers shocking secrets that make her question everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.
Wild Man Island by Will Hobbs
After fourteen-year-old Andy slips away from his kayaking group to visit the wilderness site of his archaeologist father's death, a storm strands him on Admiralty Island, Alaska, where he manages to survive, encounters unexpected animal and human inhabitants, and looks for traces of the earliest prehistoric immigrants to America.
Deliver Us from Normal by Kate Klise
With a mother who buys Christmas cards in August and a younger brother who describes the Trinity as a toasted marshmallow on a graham cracker, life for eleven-year-old Charles Harrisong is anything but normal in Normal, Illinois.
The Boy Who Ate Stars by Kochka
Upon moving to a new apartment, twelve-year-old Lucy befriends an autistic boy who lives upstairs and, along with her friend Theo and a pampered pooch, takes Matthew on neighborhood adventures hoping to open him up to the world around them.
A Mango-shaped Space by Wendy Mass
Afraid that she is crazy, thirteen-year-old Mia, who sees a special color with every letter, number, and sound, keeps this a secret until she becomes overwhelmed by school.
Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
When he is 10 years old, Charlie discovers that he is able to look at photographs and hear the conversations that were taking place at the time the photo was taken. This gift is a legacy of his ancestor the Red King, whose descendants all have different magical abilities.
Series: Children of the Red King, this is book one (001)
Harry Sue by Sue Stauffacher
Although tough-talking Harry Sue would like to start a life of crime in order to be "sent up" and find her incarcerated mother, she must first protect the children at her neglectful grandmother's home day care center and befriend a paralyzed boy.
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
In alternating chapters, two teenagers describe how their feelings about themselves, each other, and their families have changed over the years.